by Will Viharo
When dealing with any major corporation that holds all the strings to your dreams – whether it’s your body of work or your favorite cable channels or your ability to send messages – getting a live human being on the phone to work out a problem can be a frustrating hassle.
And while Amazon has taken a lot of righteous heat for some of its practices, when it comes to their publishing services, I have to admit, they offer the easiest, most accessible customer service of any other company I’ve worked with.
Whatever issues I’ve had have been quickly resolved (professionally-speaking), and one representative even monitored the issue I was having updating a product page, and then called me personally to let me know all the kinks had been worked out. That’s what I call “customer service.” And it didn’t cost me a cent, or even any grief. That is rare in this business, or any business, really.
“Don’t Leave Me Hangin’ on the Telephone…”
Basically, my goal in this case was transferring and updating information on a particular title that went out of print when the small press that initially published suddenly ceased operations. But since I retained rights to all the files, both external and internal, I simply reissued it under my own imprint, along with a few other titles.
The affable, patient service agent made sure all the reviews from the OOP edition of the book were imported over to the new one, while successfully merging with my Kindle edition on the same product page.
This process can take 1-3 days, they will tell you, but I’ve dealt with this same situation before, having self-published as well as been published by small presses, and typically you’ll see the updates live within 24 hours.
Another mutually beneficial program is called Amazon Associates. All it really means is you get a small kickback for linking directly to your product page via your own website. For instance, all of my books are hyperlinked to their Amazon and Kindle pages on my own Fiction page.
Because I recently signed up for this program, every time a customer clicks on my links, taking them to the Amazon page of choice, then makes a purchase, I not only earn my usual cut, but also a small percentage of their profits.
This even works with books that you didn’t publish yourself. I have four books published by others that are also included in this deal. When you set it up, you’ll be given a special link that automatically tracks these transactions.
Just like CreateSpace and Kindle, you supply your tax information as well as how you’d prefer to be paid, check or direct deposit. It’s all quite easy and convenient.
I’ve had my share of hostile, fruitless encounters with cable and cell phone company representatives, as well as self-publishing platforms, only after navigating a complex, labyrinthine “robot” system that didn’t always result in direct contact with a human voice anyway.
Amazon may be unfairly monopolizing and manipulating this market, and that’s another discussion worth having. But one reason they are dominating this field is this very seductive and satisfying quality of direct accessibility. That saves a lot of undue worry on the part of indie authors that already have enough on their plate.
I hope their employees are treated just as fairly. I really, really do. They deserve it.
Next: making your Amazon Author page all it can be
PHOTO: SEATTLE MUNICIPAL ARCHIVES